North Caucasus: the highlights of the week
The President's candidate of confidence – acting Head of North Ossetia Tamerlan Aguzarov – has actually topped all the key party lists.
On July 21st the Russian presidential administration held consultations with representatives of parliamentary parties on the nomination of the Head of North Ossetia. The President was represented by the first deputy chief of staff, Vyacheslav Volodin, the United Russia party by Secretary of the General Council Sergei Neverov, the Communist Party by the first deputy chairman of the Central Committee Ivan Melnikov, the Liberal Democratic Party by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, A Fair Russia by Sergey Mironov, and Patriots of Russia by Gennady Semigin.
According to the law, parties must propose president lists with three candidates. Only United Russia could name the leader of its trio – the acting Head of North Ossetia, Tamerlan Aguzarov. The Communist Party named three: Tamerlan Aguzarov, a State Duma deputy Kazbek Taysaev and a deputy of the North Ossetian parliament, Elena Knyazev. The LDPR also proposed Aguzarov and the leader of its local branch – Giorgi Zozrov. And A Fair Russia proposed Aguzarov first, and the vice-speaker of the North Ossetian parliament Gariy Kuchiev second. Only Patriots of Russia's list was without the acting Head of the republic, proposing the following deputies of the North Ossetian parliament: the chief of staff of military unit 3792 Victor Velichko, Vitaly Cheldieva and General Director of Combat LLC Valery Kukova.
After the official nomination of the party candidates for the post of Head of North Ossetia, Vladimir Putin will choose three of them for voting in the local parliament. The President must announce his three candidates no later than 20 days before the voting, which is scheduled for September 13th.
Six weeks before the discussion of this issue in the Parliament of North Ossetia, the Kremlin's preferences are not a secret. The acting head of North Ossetia Tamerlan Aguzarov has actually topped all the key party lists. Moreover, serious politicians of the country were not included on these lists – those, who could compete Aguzarov. Even before Aguzarov's appointment, analysts predicted the presidential elections of other candidates, more popular politicians in the country – Senator Alexander Totoonova and Oleg Hatsaeva, then-Prime Minister Sergey Takoeva, the well-known Russian businessman Mr. Bolloev. But the Kremlin has made an unexpected move. In the republic Tamerlane Aguzarov is well known for his work in the district prosecutor's office, the parliament and the local Supreme Court, where he had presided for 12 years. At the federal level Aguzarov became known in 2005, when he led the trial of Nurpashi Kulayev, a member of the terrorist gang that seized the Beslan school. Tamerlan Aguzarov has never been actively involved in public policy, even as a State Duma deputy from the United Russia party, preferring legislative work in parliament to loud campaigns. He had no opportunity to receive work or organizational experience, especially at the regional level. But now he has extensive and mainly socio-economic tasks. North Ossetia has long been lagging behind in many respects from many neighbors in the North Caucasus Federal District. The small republic has a huge debt – 10 billion rubles, 2.5 billion of which is loans of commercial banks at the rate of 12.5% per annum. 5.5 billion rubles must be returned before the end of the year.
At a recent meeting of the parliament, the acting head outlined his priorities: the fight against corruption, which he has actually started, expressing his indignation at the meeting regarding the amount of the current taxes of the Vladikavkaz markets. According to him, these markets have to pay taxes almost 12 times more than they do today. In Aguzarov's opinion, some influential deputies are to blame for this. This is a certain complexity of the situation, the acting Head of North Ossetia said. He cannot receive the confidence of the people in such a short period of time without any serious anti-corruption efforts, but actions regarding the financial interests of those who will vote for his candidacy on September 13th could give rise to resistance, even in latent form.
President Putin's support gives confidence to Aguzarov, which remains one of the key factors for his election. But this support is not infinite in time and is based on high expectations. The population of the republic also has high expectations. And there is an example for comparison – the successful activity of Ramzan Kadyrov. The Kremlin and the residents of North Ossetia necessarily evaluate Aguzarov's work, comparing ot with the scale of effectiveness of the Head of the Chechen Republic. This means that the Head of North Ossetia should immediately declare himself as an uncompromising, rigid politician and manager. He will not succeed by going with the flow of life, as North Ossetia has neither the material nor the moral resources. And the citizens of the republic will be entitled to ask the question: was it worth changing the former government team if the current one inherited its main negative features?